iPad Mini Retina shortage reportedly tied to one supplier

Apple is not getting enough displays for its iPad Mini Retina from Sharp, according to an Asia-based report.

iPad Mini Retina: signs from both Apple and a supplier point to constrained supply in the coming months.
iPad Mini Retina: signs from both Apple and a supplier point to constrained supply in the coming months. Apple

A day after Apple hinted at iPad Mini Retina supply shortages, a report from Asia is citing Sharp as the main bottleneck.

Sharp is having problems with production yields of the 7.9-inch display for the Mini Retina, according to a report in Digitimes.

This comes a day after Apple CEO Tim Cook offered a cautious outlook for supply of the new Mini.

"It's unclear whether we'll have enough for the quarter or not ," Cook said during Apple's earnings conference call on Monday.

Indeed, previous rumors about limited supply of Apple's iPad Mini Retina seem to be coming true.

Apple's updated iPad Mini page states that the new Retina version of Apple's most popular iPad won't be available until "later in November."

So, as of today, there is still no clear picture on when the product will be available.

"The supply for that product is severely constrained," Rhoda Alexander, director of Tablet and Monitor Research at IHS iSuppli, told CNET last week .

"We don't expect to see meaningful volume until first quarter [of 2014]," she added.

The problem is centered on making enough of the pixel-dense Mini's 7.9-inch 2048-by-1536 Retina display.

That's the same resolution on Apple's larger iPad Air but in a much smaller package -- which drives up pixel density, making it more difficult to make in the very high volumes that Apple needs.

Sharp uses a manufacturing process called IGZO to make the displays.

LG Display is cited as the biggest supplier of displays for the Mini Retina in the report. LGD doesn't appear to be having any notable supply issues and uses a manufacturing technology different from Sharp's.

A request for comment has been sent to Sharp, but the company has yet to respond.

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About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.

 

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